Reel Friends Doing Really Great Stuff

Reel Friends Doing Really Great Stuff

Fish Gut Friday … Suzanne Martin


schlitz, girl on beach, suzanne martin
My first beach clean up … Suzanne Martin

With the longer days coming each day, and a few warmer temperatures ,it gives me spring fever, and makes me long for real spring days. Also the slow approach of waiting for that first day bait fish is spotted makes me think of events coming up, like sales ,tournaments, and fundraisers. Oh, and fishing!

      It is always a pleasure to run into Sue Sokira on the beach. She has most likely caught more fish than me that day,and has definitely caught several awesome sunrises ! With her busy work schedule, getting some fishing in, Sue is also busy working on the 9th annual March of Dimes at the beach on  June the 9th starting at 11:00am till 8:00pm. It is held at the Hawk Watch Pavillion in Cape Henlopen State Park. In spite of bad memories of getting married there once,I have enjoyed several March of Dimes benefits at the Hawk Watch over the past years. The Reel Friends club is a fun group.”There was a group of us that always fished together … we’re all in emergency services in one job or another. We were sitting in a group on the beach and talking about creating our own group and tossing out names and reel friends stuck to the wall when we threw it against it. We made up hats and T-shirt’s and a FB group and it’s just taken off since … it’s kind of died down a little with life getting in the way but we’re there for each other when the going gets tough”~Sue
I personally have fished next to this group, great people doing great things!  The prizes never disappoint at this event, from the fishing equipment , local artwork ,gift certificates, gift bags, there is something to be won for just about anyone.  Most are locally donated .Over the years I have won several great treasures at the annual March Of Dimes At The Beach fundraiser.

Family, Friends, fun and Fundraising … 

striped bass, bethany lumps, atlantic migratory fish, rockfish, linesider, charter boats in delaware
Striped bass caught by Sue Sokira

Growing up in a family with Public Service oriented parents isn’t always easy. Missed meals, missed holiday time, missed games and events, but when you look back and realize why they’re missed, you truly realize how lucky you are.
Fishing has always been a “de-stressor” of sorts for all of us. A time of peace and quiet and to not have to think of anything else except watching for the tip of that pole to bend and your line to go straight. It’s a time to send a group message out via text or the “Book” and say .. “it’s time to get Salty you know where I’ll be” and your friends just show up. They bring kids, they bring dogs, they bring grills, they bring food, they bring drinks, they bring stories but most of all … they bring comfort.
It’s been great over the years introducing our friends to the art of surf fishing … and yes stressing the part that we really fish. I’ve learned so much from my mentors while in uniform but I’m most grateful for the things they’ve taught me in our down time. Being a female in a man’s world isn’t always the easiest thing to do but when you have people who treat you like an equal it makes it so much easier.
11 years ago my Brother and Sister in Law announced to the family that they were expanding their family of three to a family of six, that my friends means triplets.  Three babies, all at one time.  It wasn’t an easy pregnancy or delivery but at thirty one weeks gestation we were graced with the presence of three feisty little men. Unfortunately on the eight day GOD needed an Angel and one of our little men lost his battle. Through the whole process our family found support from the Delaware Chapter of the March of Dimes and so the journey began. We decided it was time to give back to the local Chapter and raise funds to support them.


Reel Friends Surf Fishing Group

Our first year was a winter time beef and beer that was a whole lot of fun. The second year I decided to move it outside … to the beach … in our happy place. Boy that year was interesting. It was in May, a Wednesday planned to be on the beach, big plans.  Just a typical beach day with some new twists thrown in, but Mother Nature had other plans. Temperature drop of 20 plus degrees, gale force winds, blowing rain. I was an emotional wreck but in true Reel Friends fashion our group came together. With the luck of the Hawks Watch Pavilion at Cape Henlopen being available we moved the event to cover. Carolee Lenoir and her Dad Tom went and bought tarps and rope. With the help of a few others they put up wind shields along the posts to give us a little break. Needless to say it was a light attendance day but we made a little money for our event and decided to try to redeem ourselves the following year, and it’s grown every year since.

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Reel Friends Surf Fishing Group

Our little one day event, pushing into it’s 9th year, has grown to a weekend (and sometimes longer) camping event at  Cape Henlopen State Park. This now includes a friendly BBQ cook-off that is sure to grow also (along with our waistlines). We’ve also expanded our giving profile for the event to include donations to other groups that are supporting life changing events of our Members. Boy Scouts of America, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Breast Cancer Foundation, Wilmington Fire Department children’s Fund, Ronald McDonald House just to name a few and some individual families suffering devastating illnesses throughout the year.

Reel Friends Surf Fishing Group

So to make a long story even longer … fishing isn’t just about the stories .. it’s about family time, teaching our children to respect not only each other but nature and our open spaces. It’s about a support system and a time to mentally recover and find happiness in our lives. The best of all though has to be the stories … maybe I’ll come back another time and tell you about the one that nobody witnessed
If you’re interested our 9th Annual Reel Friends March of Dimes at the Beach will be held Saturday June 9th at the Hawk’s Watch Pavilion from 11-8. We provide burgers, dogs, snacks, raffles, silent auctions and 50/50’s. Just bring your own drinks and an attitude to have fun.

Happy Hookin’!!
Sue Sokira


Reel Friends Surf Fishing Group

Everyday the sun sets just a little later and closer to spring! I know it is the end of Jan.,but mark your calendars for this family friendly activity that is for a great cause to benefit others.

Smooth Sailing!!
Suzanne Martin

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